Oh, the joy! The absolute joy! Archie couldn’t remember a recent moment when he had felt so happy. If he could sing, he would have sung. If he could dance, he would have danced. If he could have shouted to the world, he would have shouted to the world, “I’m free, I’m free!”
He had been in “jail” for the last week. A mental jail, to be sure, but it still felt like jail. About six weeks ago, he had received his almost annual jury summons. Printed on the outside of the white envelope, in bright red letters, was: OFFICIAL JURY SUMMONS ENCLOSED—Registration Required within 5 days. A friend of his had been throwing away such summonses for at least 20 years. Archie couldn’t do that—he felt that his luck was so bad that if he tried it, his summons would be the one with the concealed microchip that recorded him throwing the envelope in the trash. Then he really would be in jail. So, he dutifully filled out the form and waited until his starting date—November 5, a Monday. For that week, he would be “on call” for “no more than five days.”
As instructed, he dialed the 800-SRV-JURY number on the Saturday preceding November 5. He tapped in his PIN and jury group number. He listened, and sighed with relief; the recording had told him to call again Monday after 5 p.m. So, one day out of five was gone!

On Monday and Tuesday, Archie got the same recording. He had now escaped jury duty for three days, Monday through Wednesday. Only two days to go.
Wednesday afternoon, his friend Gil called, asking Archie if he wanted to play golf the next morning. Archie said he was on jury duty that week. Gil said, “Well, no problem! It’s already Wednesday. You’ve made it! There’s no way that they’re going to call you to jury duty this late in the week.” Archie couldn’t believe that Gil had said that. Archie knocked several times on his wooden bookcase, saying that he hoped that Gil was right.
At 5:05 that evening, still worried that Gil had jinxed him, Archie dialed the 800 number. Sure enough, the recording told him to call back Thursday between noon and 12:30, instead of the usual 5 p.m. Damn that Gil, Archie thought.
Thursday, he anxiously called at 12:28. The recording told him that his jury service was finished! All he had to do was mail in the affidavit that had come in the white envelope. Archie put the affidavit into an envelope, put a 41-cent first class stamp on the envelope, and drove to the post office. Whistling as he dropped the envelope into the mailbox, he happily washed his hands once again of the “privilege” of doing jury service.

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